|Image via Tinsel Creation: Paul T. Frankl, vanity in Penner House, Holmby Hills, California, 1938. Reproduced in Christopher Long, Paul T. Frankl and Modern American Design, 2007.|
It was obvious that something had got to give. There were signs of the impending crisis: several shelves that had bottles double and even triple-parked, perfume boxes that had to be turned on the side and labeled so I can tell what's inside, and the occasional shuffling to find the one I was looking for (a vintage Le Dix extrait disappeared for weeks only to be found in my dressing-room). Then the Husband started having nightmares about the thin glass shelves in the cabinets collapsing under the ever-growing weight and crashing spectacularly to the floor. The last straw was last week. Our anniversary involved perfume gifts, but we soon realized that there was absolutely no space left to accommodate these new bottles. We were going to need a bigger boat.
People with a signature scent or a reasonably small perfume collection that's arranged neatly on a beautiful tray atop a dresser will not understand this. It's a fragonerd issue, obviously, but I think that collectors in every field face this to some degree. The first sign of trouble actually came a couple of years ago when I discovered that my current storage system cannot be expanded any further, as Ikea discontinued their Bertby cabinets. Apparently, those glass shelved did cave in and people were unhappy about it. It meant that we had to find another solution. Fast. I can't say I'm very happy with what we did, as it involved a visit to the Container Store, clearing the bookcase in the bedroom, relocating all the books to various rooms and shelves all over the house (I'm as attached to my books as I am to my perfumes), moving DVDs, photo albums, and who knows what else.
The result is not exactly my dream of custom cabinets (one day!), but there are some major positives. One of my goals was to have all the Blond's bottles located in one place, neatly arranged and easy to see, so he can find his stuff immediately. He prefers to arrange his perfumes and colognes by note, but the vetiver situation was getting out of control. His space is now doubled, and I arranged things more or less by house. He'll probably reshuffle some of it, but as long as he knows where his Vetiver Extraordinaire is standing, I don't care if it's next to French Lover or to Chanel Sycomore.
I felt a ridiculous joy to have all the Lutens bottles, bell jars and rectangles, finally reunited. The same goes for Mona di Orio and others. Not everything makes sense yet, though. I could not find a way yet to put the various Guerlain bottles in an even remotely rational order. Basically, there's a Shalimar bottle in every cabinet: assorted concentrations, sizes, and vintages. You (or I) can never have enough Shalimar. Miller Harris Terre de Bois was separated from its siblings and moved to the Husband's side, as were Slumberhouse Norne and Jeke, while Zahd is kept far far away from there so the Man doesn't need to even look at it.
It's a work in progress. A large part of my vintage collection will get a new cabinet by next week. I already moved several, dug out the ones hiding in my dressing room, and rearranged some drawers. Another task was putting the backups into a more efficient storage system in the basement. That was... interesting. Suffice to say that I have enough Panthere de Cartier and So Pretty for my next eight lives. I used to be very anti-backup. Then LVMH acquired Guerlain, IFRA happened, and so many favorites were either discontinued or gutted. Which brings us to the amount of vintage Chanel No.19 and Miel de Bois I'm
Bonus photos: Philip and Kate while I was trying to figure out where exactly to shove another humongous Mitsouko, and Gemma inspecting the results.
What about you? Have you found an ideal storage and organizing solution? Where do you keep your backups?